Tags: Education | Polls | illinois | history | race | critical race theory | slavery

This Blue State's Residents Give Thumbs Down to Progressive Education Changes

high school students sit in desks and take a test
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 12 March 2021 11:31 AM

Illinois residents disapprove of several progressive education proposals, including whether K-12 schools should teach that America is systematically racist and founded on slavery, a new poll shared with Politico Playbook on Friday shows.

The survey, which was conducted by 1892 Polling on behalf of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, found that many Illinois residents oppose changing the state’s curriculum in many areas regarding history and race, and comes after the state finalized a wide-ranging overhaul of the rules for training teachers that focuses on raising cultural awareness.

  • 37% said that ''Our K-12 schools should institute new curriculums that teach children to understand that America is founded on slavery and remains systemically racist today.''
  • 48% said ''K-12 schools should focus on teaching students about American founding principles and the documents that established the first free and democratic country in the world.''
  • 62% said ''K-12 teachers should work to expose students to a variety of perspectives about the country’s founding and history, and to equip them to think critically about its successes and failures.''
  • 23% said ''K-12 teachers should embrace progressive viewpoints and perspectives when teaching U.S. history, to encourage students to advocate for social justice causes.''
  • 26% said that ''Public universities should work to combat systemic racism and structural inequality by teaching students about white privilege.''
  • 62% said ''Public universities should work to educate citizens in U.S. history and founding principles as the basis for reasoned debate and civil dialogue.''

Democrats accounted for the largest portion of the poll’s respondents, at 39%, followed by independents at 27% and Republicans at 24%, with the rest unsure. About one-third rated themselves as moderate, with about 28% describing themselves as liberal and 25% as conservative.

Most of the respondents had a positive view of police officers, 67%, as well as teachers unions, 51%, while less than half stated support for Black Lives Matter, 48%, and their local school board, 46%.

Illinois Superintendent of Education Carmen Ayala told the Chicago Tribune that the controversy over the new training standards in the state has been caused by ''a coordinated misinformation campaign by opponents'' that ''ended up demonstrating exactly why we need the standards: to clarify what cultural responsiveness means, how it benefits all students, and how to practice it effectively.''

Jonathan Butcher of the Heritage Foundation told The Washington Free Beacon that the poll shows that Illinois residents disapprove of the new standards.

"I don't think what parents are trying to say is they don't want schools to handle these sensitive ideas of character," he said. "I think they do. But I think they are rightfully fearful because critical theory is so intent on characterizing people on skin color and ethnicity instead of measures of character or merit. They are rightfully afraid that it will create a negative view of their community and even their country."

1892 Polling surveyed 800 Illinois residents by phone from Feb. 17-21, with a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.

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Illinois residents disapprove of several progressive education proposals, including whether K-12 schools should teach that America is systematically racist and founded...
illinois, history, race, critical race theory, slavery, systemic racism
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2021-31-12
Friday, 12 March 2021 11:31 AM
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